Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

REC response to the ONS labour market statistics, June 2019

Today’s labour market figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the UK unemployment rate holding at 3.8% for February to April 2019, the lowest since October to December 1974.

The employment rate also remained steady at 76.1%, the joint-highest figure since comparable estimates began in 1971. The economic inactivity rate was 20.8%, lower than for a year earlier (21.0%) and close to the record low.

The estimated number of vacancies in the jobs market was 837,000, 11,000 more than a year earlier but 12,000 lower than for December 2018 to February 2019.

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:

“This morning’s figures show a familiar picture, with the UK labour market stuck in the same holding pattern that we have seen for the past few months. The overall picture remains positive, but with a few warning signs, such as declining vacancies.

“Our jobs market continues to demonstrate how robust it is, and continues to provide good work for more people than ever before with employment at a joint-record high and economic inactivity close to a record low.

“However, the fact that vacancy numbers are dropping is reflected in the REC’s Report on Jobs data, which shows a slight decline in permanent placements. At the same time, employers and recruiters are still struggling to find the staff to fill empty roles in sectors as diverse as healthcare, technology and logistics. Businesses are increasingly having to review current hiring procedures, as making the right hire at the right time can be crucial to maximising growth and productivity.”